Summary: Loss of Dicernment among believers.
Hosea 7:8 “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.”
Encarta dictionary defines discernment as “keenly selective judgment. Also synonyms would include judgment, acumen, discrimination, taste and sensitivity.”
I. The Cause of Diminishing Discernment
a. Prayerlessness - When we break commands concerning prayer it leads to diminished discernment.
1Thesselonians. 5:17 "…Pray without ceasing."
Luke 18:1 "Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end that men ought always to pray, and not to faint"
Ephesians 6:18 says that the Christian is to be praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6:18).
There are many commands in the Bible that Christians should pray and Jesus warns His disciples more than once to watch and pray lest they should enter into temptation.
When we do not pray we deprive ourselves of the things that we need. Many do not have daily necessities because they do not pray. God says we are to ask,
Matthew 6:11 "Give us this day our daily bread"
No doubt many of the afflicted are still afflicted because they have not obeyed God's command, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray."
When we do not pray we deprive ourselves of the wisdom we need. Many are undecided and in doubt about duty because they have not prayed and they lack wisdom because they have not obeyed God when He commanded,
James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not"
James 4: 2 "…have not, because they ask not"
They do not ask and they do not receive. They do not seek and they do not find.They do not knock and the door is not opened (Matt. 7: 7). Sometimes there are other hindrances, but often it simply lack of prayer.
Others die die because we do not intercede on their behalf. In Exodus 32, God threatened to destroy the whole nation of Israel and make Moses and his family a new nation. But Moses prayed and God forgave them. If there had been 10 praying men in Sodom, God would have spared the city!
b. Lack of Study of God’s Word
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Hebrews 5:12 “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
c. Inconsistent church attendance
Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
In his book, When God Whispers Your Name, Max Lucado tells the story of John Egglen, who had never preached a sermon in his life before the Sunday morning when it snowed and the pastor wasn’t able to make it to the church. In fact, he was the only deacon to show up. He was not a preacher, but he was faithful and that meant on that particular Sunday morning he preached. God rewarded his faithfulness, and at the end of his hesitant sermon, one young man invited God into his heart. No one there could appreciate the significance of what had taken place that morning. The young man who accepted Christ that snowy Sunday morning was non other than Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the man who has often been called, the "prince of preachers." God blessed his preaching and when he was still less than 30 years old he became the pastor of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. His sermons were so powerful that although the building could hold 5000 people, the crowds who came to hear him were so thick that they would line up outside trying to hear his sermons. That amazing life of faith all started on a cold Sunday morning with the faithfulness of a deacon who had never preached a sermon before that day. Faithfulness means being committed to what God lets us have the chance to do, whether it looks like a big assignment, or a small one. Giving the sermon to a handful of people on a Sunday morning when almost no one shows up doesn’t seem all that significant, but it demanded faithfulness & God blessed John Egglin’s faithfulness.